It's looking like Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson could be on the move very soon. According to a report from ESPN, Johnson requested a trade out of Chicago after he and the team were unable to come to terms on a contract extension, and the team granted him permission to find a new home prior to Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline.
Johnson was a second-round pick (No. 50 overall) back in 2020, and has been one of Chicago's starting outside corners ever since. He has collected three interceptions and 34 passes defensed in three-plus seasons.
According to Pro Football Focus tracking, Johnson has allowed a lower passer rating on throws in his direction with each passing season: That figure has dropped from 106.7 as a rookie to 102.8, 96.8, and finally all the way to 37.3 this year. He has given up just 11 completions on 26 targets, for 120 yards, one touchdown, and two picks.
In the final year of his rookie contract, Johnson will surely seek a contract extension from whichever team acquires him. Putting together his best season to date positions Johnson well to set a pretty hefty price tag, and with Chicago not exactly looking like it will contend any time soon, it does make some sense that it would instead seek draft capital in return for his services.
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Still, it's at least somewhat unusual that the Bears have now had two quality defenders up for contract extensions in the past two seasons, and rather than finding a way to pay them, it seems like both will be on the move. Chicago sent Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens last year, then paid a pair of linebackers (Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards) in the offseason anyway. We don't yet know whether something similar will happen with Johnson, but one can certainly question the asset management strategy the Bears have employed thus far.